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Cahn: Don’t forget the sunblock

Posted: August 13, 2015 4:32 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2015 1:00 a.m.

It’s been a week, and my forehead is still peeling.

As an early birthday gift for my about to turn 14-year-old son, my ex-wife and I pooled our resources and we all, including close to being 15-year-old other son, headed up to Carowinds.

We’d intended to get there within an hour of it opening at 10 a.m., but didn’t make it until 1 p.m. Determined to get our money’s worth, we decided to stay the entire day, right up to closing and fireworks at 10 p.m.

We took food with us, in an attempt to cut down on buying food in the park. We ate lunch before going in but, as you might expect, that didn’t keep the boys from asking for additional drinks and food once inside the gates.

During the early part of the afternoon, we stuck to the main part of the park. Due to my 2013 neck injury and subsequent surgery, I can’t go on any of the thrill rides. So, I often spent time waiting at the ride exits for them. That turned out to be OK, because I was quickly told even what we thought were fairly mild rides were actually pretty intense.

We returned to the car a while later to retrieve swimsuits and towels and made the long trudge to Boomerang Bay, Carowinds’ water park section.

By this time, we realized we had made one mistake: no sunblock. And we made another mistake: we didn’t buy any while in the park.

Yes, sometimes even those of us who think we’re so smart are stoo-pid!

I did risk going on some of the water slides. Those turns weren’t too bad and afforded me the chance to enjoy myself with the family. I think I only yelled out “whooo!” once on a particularly sharp turn.

We also tried Bondi Beach, a giant wave pool. It was fun, but I somehow managed to get a leg cramp and had to ease my way back to the “beach” to ease it out. Luckily, no residual problems.

By the time we finished up in Boomerang Bay it was 7 p.m. when that part of the park closed. We retrieved our belongings and changed back into regular clothes and spent the last three hours checking out some more rides (well, the boys and their mom did) and a few other things.

Sure enough, by 10 p.m., there were fireworks we watched as best we could from inside the park and then made our way out.

By this time, we were all tired ... and sunburned. I don’t think we really knew how badly yet. It was 12:30 a.m. by the time we returned to Camden. Oddly enough, I don’t think I was able to get to sleep until close to 3 a.m.

But, oh boy!, when I woke up. My neck, forehead, forearms and legs hurt! My legs felt like iron bars, and not in a good way.

I don’t regret going to Carowinds, but I do regret forgetting and not buying sunscreen.

The good news is younger son enjoyed himself and that’s what counts. He’d been wanting to go for some time, mainly because his brother’s been twice and he wanted to experience it for himself.

I had never been either (at least I don’t think so -- perhaps when I was really young and have forgotten?), so it was something of a treat for me, too.

I am amazed at some of the thrill rides you can experience in these types of places. Carowinds has several with almost evil-sounding names: Intimidator, Vortex, Carolina Cyclone, Hurler and Afterburn.

Afterburn is, apparently, based on jet flight and instead of sitting in cars you are suspended from seats. I watched several times as riders looped around, literally upside down at times, their hair brushing past bushes I was walking past. No thanks.

The one coaster I wish I could have taken a chance on, a wooden behemoth called Thunder Road, is closed now. It opened in 1973, but will soon be dismantled to make room for additions to adjoining Boomerang Bay.

So, lessons for the day: make sure you leave much earlier in the day so you can enjoy cooler temperatures, take breaks from walking as often as you can, and -- whatever you do -- don’t forget the sunblock!


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